NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sunday, November 8, 2015, 10:01 PM
Glenn lives – in Maggie, anyway.
Sunday night’s episode of “The Walking Dead” revealed what fans have suspected since the beginning of the season: That Maggie is pregnant with her husband Glenn’s baby.
We still didn’t learn Glenn’s fate since we saw him appear to be eaten alive by zombies a few weeks ago, but at least we were spared the deaths of any other beloved characters.
No, the relatively uneventful episode allowed us to catch our collective breaths as we returned to Alexandria, which has finally gotten a dose of what the world is like “Now” – as the title suggests – and damn, were those sheltered survivors struggling to get a grip or what?
Deanna has been walking around these last few episodes like a zombie, herself, still shocked from the one-two punch of both her son Aiden and her husband Reg being killed. In fact, we open on the free zone’s leader surveying her battered community after the attack as the bodies of fallen Wolves and Alexandrians are being dragged off the street, and Michonne confers with Maggie about losing track of Glenn while Rick’s team was trying to lure that horde of walkers away. Daryl, Sasha, Abraham and Rick are still out there – as are Nicholas and Glenn – and the Alexandrians (similar to the viewers) aren’t 100% positive of their fate.
And speaking of the horde, the fragile calm after the storm is suddenly shattered by Rick screaming, “Open the gate!” as he comes streaking toward Alexandria with a few thousand walkers on his heels. He somehow managed to escape that RV and run all the way home ahead of the horde, but now the walkers are closing in on him. Michonne and Maggie just barely pull him inside before they slam the gates, and the mass of walkers paws at the bars.
Now Alexandria is besieged by a horde of zombies at least 20-feet deep. Cue the opening credits (again without Glenn/Steven Yeun).
The survivors are on lockdown, walking the perimeter and shoring up the walls. They’ve repaired the section where that semi-truck had crashed into the guard tower while Spencer was on watch.
Rick lays out some new rules for the assembled survivors: They’ve got to keep the noise to a minimum and pull the blinds every night – if not turn off the lights altogether – in the hopes that the walkers will lose interest in their little safe haven and move on. And they’d be wise to start rationing the food stores until they can go out on runs again. If they can just sit tight, maybe Daryl, Sasha and Abraham can lure this pack of monsters away once they return.
“I know you’re scared – you haven’t seen anything like this, you haven’t been through anything like this – but we’re safe for now,” says Rick. “The walls are gonna hold together. The others, they’re gonna be back … and Glenn and Nicholas and gonna walk back through the front gate.”
But while the Grimes Gang can accept this – after all, compared to dodging cannibals, eating bugs and tearing out men’s jugulars with their bare teeth, Alexandria feels like a spa retreat – the Alexandrians are not happy.
“This place is a graveyard,” one complains, and the mood seems ready to turn on Rick for leaving them vulnerable to the Wolves and now leading all of these walkers here.
But then Aaron boldly steps up and reminds them that Rick’s plan actually worked. Aaron also saw the quarry break open, and if it weren’t for Rick’s attempt to lure them away, ALL of the walkers would be upon them now, not just half of them.
And Aaaron takes things one step further, admitting to leading the Wolves to their doorstep by dropping his pack and his photos of their little safe haven behind. “They found their way back here because of me,” he says, which elicits gasps and sobs from some of the others, and causes Deanna to turn and walk away.
The one Alexandrian ready to get back to business, however, is Jessie. The attack and subsequent siege have finally made her get the message that Rick has been trying (among other thaaangs, if you know what I mean) to drive into her: This is the way the world is now, and you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to survive and to protect your family.
So she drags the body of the attacker she killed out of her house and to the pile of Wolf corpses that they’ve piled up, which Rick won’t allow to be buried inside the walls – like Jessie’s late husband Pete – because they’re killers.
But the other community members are chafing at the new rules, and there’s a sudden run on the food pantry as everyone tries to stock up on bread and milk and the other staples that panicked mobs grab before a snowstorm or during the apocalypse.
While the pantry keeper Olivia tries patiently explaining that the soups and sauces can be stretched out with water (or maybe one of Carol’s fancy casseroles), the spoiled survivors gripe that it’s not enough food to survive on. If they only knew what real hunger was like …
Olivia turns to Deanna for help, but once again the leader watches toothlessly as her people panic. They overrun the pantry and start grabbing whatever they want, fatalistically believing they are all about to die anyway, so rationing the food is pointless.
But that’s when Deanna’s surviving son Spencer suddenly steps up and makes an impassioned speech that this isn’t the end. These food stores are for everyone, and they need to make it last in order to survive.
“Doing this will start us down a road where nothing matters, where no one else matters, and then we’ll all look back at this moment right now as when we destroyed this place ,” he says.
His wise words get through to his neighbors, and they start returning the canned goods back to the shelves – and Deanna looks at her son with admiration. He’s reawakened a spark in her to keep fighting for that better world that she used to believe in.
So she goes back home, turns her husband’s wedding ring over in her hands, and mulls over his grand plans for the community. She grabs a map of the planned expansion for the community, and sketches out where the garden Maggie suggested will grow, and what they’ll plant, and what the new buildings on the property could be used for. Deanna’s got her groove back.
But then the sound of breaking glass snaps her out of it. She goes into her kitchen and finds Spencer drunk off of booze he stole from the pantry after his high and mighty speech about conserving resources for the good of the community.
Deanna is stricken. “So what you told everyone – that was bullshit?” she asks. And he breaks her heart by not only admitting that he thinks they’re all going to be dead real soon, but also blaming her for their weakness.
“You’re the reason we’re so screwed!” he yells. “We were never safe here. You just wanted to dream. What happened to dad, to Aiden, that’s all you.”
Do you think that’s fair? True, the entire community was soft and coddled, but Deanna was wise enough to realize they needed outside help, which was why she wanted to bring in Rick and his “dangerous” group in the first place.
Maggie is on a mission to find out what happened to Glenn – and for some reason, only Aaron catches her prepping to hop over the wall on a suicide mission to find her spouse.
(Really – I’m surprised that Rick or Michonne didn’t assign someone to keep a closer eye on her; surely they know Maggie well enough to suspect she would not be able to wait idly for Glenn to return.)
Some Alexandrians have crafted a memorial on one wall, where they’ve painted the names of the men and women who died. They include Aiden, Nicholas and Glenn’s names on the bottom.
Maggie studies this and then slips into the armory, where Aaron catches her loading her guns and stocking up on flashlights and rope.
“What happens when you twist an ankle falling down? Or you just get slowed down by one of them, and then you have to deal with all of them?” he asks her. “I’m going to help you.”
Aaron not only feels responsible for raining death and destruction down on his home, but being in a committed, loving relationship himself, he emphasizes too well with how Maggie feels. So rather than try to talk her out of going, he reveals a secret way out through an old sewer system.
They slip underground into a tunnel that Aaron hasn’t visited since the very beginning of the apocalypse, which offers an excellent device to spring on us the most decomposed zombies we’ve ever seen – they’re practically dissolving into sludge even as they spring at Maggie and Aaron from under a ladder that’s rotted away.
Aaron saves Maggie, who tries to send him home again, as he’s cut his head pretty badly and needs stitches. But he insists that he can’t stand to see any more names go up on that wall, and he’s determined to help her find Glenn.
They get to the tunnel exit, but realize they’re still too close to the horde to be able to slip out. Aaron offers to go without her to find Glenn, but she starts screaming to bring the walkers on them so that there is no way to get out.
And then she reveals the worst-kept secret this season: She’s pregnant, which is she let Glenn convince her to stay behind. “If I would have gone, maybe if I was with him, I coulda helped him,” she says, admitting that she doesn’t believe he’s alive, or else he would have shown some kind of sign, as Michonne said.
“I don’t get to know what happened, why it happened, what I did right or wrong. Not now,” she sighs. “I have to live with that. You do, too.”
And the two of them embrace with the walkers moaning against the grate behind them, the light reflecting off the engagement ring that Glenn gave Maggie.
Other crises of faith:
That poor pseudo-doctor Denise is fretting about how ill-equipped she is to take care of this community. Scott, the man shot in the leg that Graham and Michonne barely managed to bring home alive, is suffering from an infection that will likely kill him.
Alanna tries showing Denise how brave she is in even trying to save this man. “Being afraid sucks,” she says. But the doc isn’t hearing it. She moans that she wants a real doctor to show up so that she can go back to bed and read “War and Peace” (really, hon?)
But similar to how Spencer reinvigorates Deanna with his impassioned speech – even if he didn’t really believe it himself – Jessie manages to give the doc a boost.
Jessie goes to check on a neighbor, and sees that her friend has committed suicide – but in yet another example of Alexandrian ineptness, this woman slit her wrists instead of shooting herself in the head, so she has returned as a walker.
Jessie lets her out and kills her zombified friend on the porch in front of her horrified neighbors – and I’m giving her Zombie Kill of the Week. Knifing a friend (I imagine) is harder than attacking a sludge monster.
Jessie says, “This is what life looks like now. We have to see it. We have to fight. If we don’t fight, we die.”
This appears to resonate with Denise, who goes back to the infirmary, keeps digging through the book, and finally finds the injection that will save her patient.
She then goes to Alanna, and – in a surprise to me, anyway – plants a kiss on her lips and sits next to her looking happy. “Being afraid sucks,” she says, as Alanna smiles.
There’s a lot of kissing going on: Rick also finally plants one on Jessie, after he swings by her garage to explain why they’re not taking care of the Wolves’ bodies yet.
“I just wanted to wait,” he says. He wanted Glenn and Daryl and Sasha and Abraham to be back by now. “They could still be alive. We’re not moving past that.”
She gives him THE LOOK and asks him to “tell me there’s more,” and that’s when the sheriff starts making out with the little lady.
The episode ends on a few hopeful notes: The Rick/Jessie and Alanna/Denise hook-ups, Maggie and Aaron going to the fence and wiping Glenn and Nick’s names off the wall – deciding they’re gonna believe that they’re alive after all. And Deanna walks up to the front gate where the walkers are banging against the fence, and she punches the fence back, showing that she’s ready to fight back.
But as she walks away, we see blood leaking through the wall. They’re not out of the woods yet.
-Where the hell was Carol? Was she off killing that lone Wolf that Morgan has secretly kept alive and locked up, since he still believes that all life is precious? Her absence during all of this rebuilding and recovery spoke volumes. Who else thinks she’s up to something besides baking casseroles and watching Judith?
-So Rick and Jessie have finally hooked up; which one of her kids is going to react the worst: Little Sam who won’t come downstairs, or Ron, who is being suspiciously nice to Rick all of a sudden?
-Carl and Ron got into the lamest shoving match I’ve ever seen when Carl decides he’s going to hop over the wall to find Enid, and Ron stops him to save his life. “I’ll tell your daddy,” Ron says (after calling Enid his girlfriend, by the way), lying sprawled on the ground. “He’ll go out there to find you, and other people will too, and then somebody’s gonna.” That pretty much sums it up. But what’s Ron’s long game, really? Will Rick soon regret teaching him how to shoot?
-And where is Enid, anyway? And how do you think things are going for Daryl, Sasha and Abraham as they continue to lead the front half of the walker horde away? And will we ever see a flashback of how Rick escaped from that RV?
-Was amused to see that frazzled doc flipping through “Gray’s Anatomy” for help.
Until next week!